This recipe may be made ahead and reheated in the casserole dish just before serving. If made ahead, wait until the casserole is ready to go into the oven before adding the cilantro cream sauce, to avoid the chiles becoming soggy.
For the chiles:
- 6 large ancho chiles
- 3 sprigs fresh marjoram
- 3 sprigs fresh thyme
- 3 bay leaves
- 1 pound queso asadero, Monterrey jack or gouda cheese
For the sauce:
- 1 large onion, sliced
- ¼ cup butter
- 2 cups canned or fresh tomatoes, skin and seeds removed
- 2 large garlic cloves
- ¼ cup cilantro leaves, finely chopped
- ½ cup water
- 2 cups Mexican-style crema or sour cream
- salt and pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 350º.
Place chiles in a saucepan with marjoram, thyme, bay leaves and water to cover. Bring to a boil. Remove from the heat immediately and let chiles soak in the hot water for 5 minutes.
Drain, slit lengthwise and remove seeds.
Fill with shredded cheese and place in a lightly greased baking dish.
Saute the onion in the butter. Place onion in the blender with tomato, garlic, cilantro and water. Liquify and strain back into the sautéing pan. Simmer for 15 minutes, remove from heat, and stir in the cream, salt and pepper to combine well.
Pour the sauce over the chiles and bake for 15 minutes.